Happy Sunday! I will not be cooking this week because THIS:
Thanksgiving Leftovers. What’s in here:
Short Ribs with Slow Cooked Polenta
Also, I’m heading to Disney on Thursday (yay!) so too much food for too little time. Still, I bake on.
I was making cookies this morning listening to Christmas music and “My Favorite Things” came on. When it started playing on the radio the last handful of years ago, I struck me as odd because I never really associated this with Christmas growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Sound of Music (on my list of top five) but it was a song that seemed more…secular…for lack of a better word, than most of my Christmas favorites.
It got me thinking as I rolled out the dough to my dulce de leche sandwich cookies (coming soon!) that in lieu of “my favorite thanksgiving recipes” or “my favorite ways to use thanksgiving leftovers” (hint: it’s cassoulet…in my slow cooker right now. Yee-ah), I’d introduce you to my favorite kitchen things. Because if you’re reading this, you probably have a list of your own. Amiright?
The thing about my kitchen things is this: I don’t like extraneous kitchen gadgets. They’re just not my impulse buy. Why do I need a special blender to make margaritas? Wouldn’t a regular one be just fine? I realize everyone has their thing, but when it comes to what fills my very limited cabinet space, I tend to be pretty picky and stick with the basics, with a few exceptions. So, without further ado, here are my favorite kitchen things.
Seven years ago when I moved to Chicago, I bought this huge box of parchment paper from the restaurant supply store. Of course it was snowing. Of course it was heavy. Of course I decided to take the bus. Perhaps not the smartest move, but the point is that I still have half left, despite baking a LOT and supply Mama with some (and she bakes a lot, too). I find parchment invaluable and if you have a kitchen supply store in your area, I suggest checking it out. It’s a whole lot cheaper than buying the roll at the grocery.
I wasn’t always a KitchenAid snob. My first mixer I bought for myself was my “you got a job!” present and, after more than one pro-con list, I settled on a Sunbeam, the mixer that I grew up using in Mama’s kitchen and the one that she still uses today. However, mom’s is from like, 1965. And it still works. The one I bought three years ago broke after 2 years (and in the middle of my first real-deal buttercream). Sunbeam won’t repair their mixers, so in a “screw you” I converted to the KitchenAid and never looked back. Now, I baked for YEARS with just a hand mixer and did just fine. However, I do love this.
Because sometimes you just need to whip up some cream. And this is just dandy for that.
I’ve mentioned before I don’t have a real blender and this + football stadium cup means that this household of one does not need one.
I resisted this one for a long time. Mama bought it for me and it sat in disuse, probably for years. However, as my personal cookbook has expanded, I realized that it’s pretty awesome for quick rolls or crusts where I’d otherwise have to “cut in” fat, and the attachments make it awesome for shredding cheese.
I stole this from my mom. There has been no punishment. All reward.
I love these because the heads don’t separate from the body and nasty stuff can’t get trapped in the crevices. Martha Stewart started making these I want to say about 5-6 years ago for Macy’s but now they sell them all over.
Really, a multi-purpose deal. Sometimes the big ones are just too big. This is also quite bendy.
Whisking is my favorite kitchen activity and this whisk makes me feel like a giant.
Just as effective as a larger juicer. 1/100th of the size.
Cast Iron skillet
Hand me down from Grandma. Well seasoned from years of Hungarian cooking goodness.
I got it a few years ago and it’s by far my most used. Deep enough for liquids, but not a full out saucepan.
And finally…good knives. Mine are Cutco.
As for pantry staples, because I cook all over the world, what is my favorite for one region may sit dormant in all the others (curry leaves, I’m looking at you). However, I’ve realized that some ingredients’ usefulness cannot be contained, so here’s what I’ve found to be useful in more than one nation’s cuisine (besides the obvious flour/sugar).
Cocoa Powder (I really like Rodelle)
Chocolate/ Chocolate Chips
Mexican and Greek Oregano
ALL THE NUTS
Of course my pantry boasts more than just the above list. My spice rack in particular overfloweth.
I hope you enjoyed this brief tour through my kitchen. No one has pressed me to advertise any products or brands (though you can probably tell I have some brand loyalty) and even if they did, I wouldn’t. I’m stubborn like that. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday (if you’re from the States) or a lovely weekend (if you’re from elsewhere)!